Portland Public School District
TECHSMART 3RD GRADE LITERACY PROJECT
Portland Public Schools
TOTAL PROJECT: $10,297,082
The TechSmart 3rd Grade Literacy Project is focused on significantly increasing the number of students who are reading at benchmark by the end of 3rd grade – a critical factor on the way to successful high school graduation.
PPS is in the process of adopting literacy curriculum for PreK-5rd grades across the district. The last time PPS underwent this process in 2007, it did not result in improved outcomes for students in reading achievement. With the support of the TechSmart Initiative investment, PPS is taking a new approach to the K-3rd Grade literacy adoption, with the goal to have all students at reading proficiency by 3rd grade and to eliminate the achievement gap.
In order to sustain and scale literacy transformation across the large urban school district, PPS plans to pilot blended learning models, infused with technology and professional development supports, in K-3rd grade programs in 20 schools across four years. The current school year will be used for planning and onboarding the district/school instructional coaches, principals and teachers at the first five schools that will implement beginning in SY2016-17. Five schools will be added each of the following three school years (five year total grant period).
The project plan includes deep investments by both PPS and the MHCRC in elements critical to successful technology-rich learning environments: dedicated staff capacity to do the work; staff and teacher professional development; and classroom technology and infrastructure. In addition, PPS plans to conduct comprehensive evaluation of embedded supports and provide for iterating professional development and instructional practices for technology-based blended learning from year to year, and building district capacity to sustain the literacy transformation to all PPS K-3rd grade programs across the district in the years following the grant period.
Teachers were key participants in planning the framework for the TS3R Project. 30 teachers serve on the Literacy Advisory Committee, which provided the project vision and direction. And teachers also make up the majority of members on the Blended Learning Steering Committee.
Funds for the TechSmart Initiative derive from the cable services franchises negotiated by the MHCRC with Comcast, Frontier, CenturyLink and Reliance Connects. The cable companies pay three percent of their gross revenues for video services in Multnomah County to support community uses of cable system technology, including funding for the MHCRC’s Community Grants program. Cable companies enter into franchise agreements in order to use the public right of way for their business purposes.